Category Archives: Poetry

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(for A.S.)

There is nothing I can write about you
Without making you sound like a lost lover

But perhaps that is the truth,
We were lovers the way truth and art have lovers,

In the way you can hear nothing but traffic all day, and yet be a music lover,
See nothing but buildings all day and yet be a tree lover.

And if they should ban song
Or cut all the trees,
What would I be to you?
And what you be to me,
Without that walk in the shade of giant samanias,
Without its memory, set to the music of a lost friendship?

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a memory that will keep nothing
is an unexpected blessing.
filled to brim years ago
it is apt to reject the new—

faces and names are hopeless,
tastes and smells have to be
particularly foul or fine
to find a grudging slot.

tempers and passions aren’t
altogether missing, yet
my skin and tongue swear
they know more than my mind.

no old lies, truths or poetry
light recognition in my eyes;
but what a gift their vanishing,
permitting gasps and wonderment

anew and over, each time we meet.

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Does blood flow to the metronome of galaxies?
How stilling it would be if you answered yes
On an evening we’ve spent
Trying to slow not only time
But our very veins and their needless efficiency.

For how would we carry on
Bartering vulnerabilities
If not under that brief lamppost
Of a supernova.

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In the democracy of clumsiness
There are no elections.

We are all winners, everyone an MP
In that parliament of memorable embarrassments.

I don’t suppose you can recall either
A single suave first move,

Or that intensely desired gaze
You knew how to return.

(for S.)

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and what would you have done
different in the years
you wish we could have had,
had we met earlier?

what would we have said and seen
in that alternate universe,
what would we have made
of each other’s slow succumbing
to gravity and gravitas?

perhaps it is better we have met
after the wrinkles have found their
places, and we have made ornaments
of our oddnesses, lined the lonely
crevices of our younger selves
with vices and devices.

so we can now speak or say
nothing, and still be heard
uninterrupted
by air or anxiety,
distance or desire.

– – – – – – –

(for a.)

knowing

she insists
she didn’t do it
that she wasn’t there
that she never even saw it.

we who have played this game
longer, know better.

her small frame alight
with fear and defiance
her head shaking vigourously
light hair emphasising the ‘no’s.

how did she learn to say
what was not?
what was it like, the moment
of forbidden discovery
that the world, things, events,
could seem otherwise
simply by saying so?

the blacks so clear to us
against the white of what is right

and punishment
showing her large eyes
the greys.

———–

Never visiting the giant sequoias

At some point the feet stop itching
and the plans fade away
The daydreaming stops;
only the furniture is moved.

The occasional picture
is lingered over. But no
longing tugs the heart,
no sighs come forth.

It is enough now to imagine
the immensity, the immortality,
the towering stillness, made
fragile by birdsong.

A little later, emptiness.
Not hollow, but content.
The love-child of memory
and imagination, telling us

We have seen them after all.